Pacerone is a medication for people with severe irregular heart rhythm. Unfortunately, it is very toxic and causes side effects in many parts of the body. The side effects include lung damage, liver disease, blindness, heart problems, and death.
Pacerone is a brand-name for amiodarone, which is used to restore normal heart rhythm in patients with severe arrhythmias. It is only approved as a “last-resort” because it is toxic in many vital organs.
An estimated 15-50% of patients on Pacerone develop severe side effects, usually in the lungs, liver, thyroid, heart, or eyes. About 20% of patients must stop taking it due to severe complications.
FDA Warning: Pulmonary Toxicity
The FDA issued a Safety Communication about pulmonary toxicity. This severe lung disease affects up to 17% of patients, and 10% of cases are fatal. Over time, it causes progressive scarring in the lungs that makes it harder to breathe.
Loss of Vision and Blindness
Another common side effect of Pacerone is vision loss. Studies estimate that 2% of patients develop vision problems. While most improve after discontinuing Pacerone, about 20% go legally blind in at least one eye. Furthermore, 90% of patients develop corneal deposits in the eyes. Corneal deposits are usually asymptomatic, but 2-5% of patients see “halos” around lights.
What is the problem?
- Lung damage
- Pulmonary toxicity
- Liver disease
- Severe irregular heart rhythm